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As Texas plunged into single digits with multiple days of a windchill below freezing, millions found themselves stranded with no power or water. Living along the Gulf Coast we have weathered hurricanes and endured power outages for much longer periods, but somehow this seemed different. Maybe for those of us close to the shoreline it was the unusual sight of snow we experienced as opposed to the natural disasters we usually face that arrive with rain, wind, and sweltering heat.

Our son and daughter (in law) were finally able to take a long-overdue honeymoon to St. Lucia in December. Cecelia interned one summer for a travel agent so naturally called the company to book their trip. What an incredible experience they had, and I was reminded WHY using a travel agent is worth the expense. Fees range depending on the service, but most charge between $300-350 to plan a vacation somewhere in the Caribbean Islands. 

Q: I will be a new mom soon, and I have been preparing for life “after” a newborn. There is a lot of information on raising babies, and how dads can support mom, but I cannot find much on how moms can support dads. A lot of my mental preparation has been around my marriage. Specific questions: How do I preserve my marriage? How do we embrace the changes? How do I maintain my husband as a priority when we have a tiny human demanding everything? How can I help my husband bond with our new child?

Want to set your children up for success? Then look no further than the habits of successful people you know, whether that be in the corporate world, media, or within your own circle of friends. Experts agree that there are certain common traits all successful people possess. This is great news because it means we can emulate those leaders that have come before us. 

How can you tell if someone will be successful? When I was in high school, they still had a category for a graduating senior titled: Voted Most Likely to Succeed. How, at 18-years-old, could classmates look at someone and say, “Yeah, I think they will be the most successful person in our graduating class.”

Many of us grew up learning multitasking was a hallmark of a productive person. While sounding good in theory, this practice has proven to be incorrect. Studies now reveal that multitasking is nothing more than switching back and forth between tasks and it lowers our productivity. Below are 5 points that deal with the facts behind project hopping and the lack of performance that occurs when we allow seemingly innocuous interruptions to occur in daily life.

The way my husband structures his day is different from how I organize mine, but there is one thing we both do. We start with a morning routine. I make coffee, read the news while eating my breakfast, and then dive into an hour of bible study. Once I finish, I pull out my journal and plan my day. About 2 years ago I discovered an organizational method that resonated with me.

Remember as children, during holidays, we would spend what seemed like hours creating homemade craft projects for our parents? It might be a paper Christmas snowflake sprinkled with glitter or a cutout heart for Valentine’s Day. We would address it: To: Mom or To: Dad. We would sign our name, and this become the gift we gave our parents. The act of giving is how we should view all letters, especially a thank you note. We may not be cutting out cute hearts, but when we take time to put pen to paper and share a little of ourselves with someone else, we are giving a part of our heart to another.  

People give to make you feel loved and remembered. Sometimes gifts are given out of obligation, but mostly they are presented to honor a special relationship or occasion. No matter the reason, we need to know how to show our appreciation. Here are my 7 tips to become a gracious gift receiver.  

Table manners seem to be the area in which I receive most of my questions, but it is introductions that have people the most baffled. After I explain the correct way to conduct an introduction, I often get that starry-eyed stare that tells me, “I really don’t understand what you just said.” To help all of us, I have broken down the process into a simple format. Before I proceed, let me say this. Do not let a lack of confidence in handling an introduction keep you from DOING an introduction.

I recently bumped into a friend at the store, and as we began talking, she expressed how she struggles with the holidays. When January rolls around, she feels like she somehow “missed out.” I understand this feeling because I, too, have often felt this way. Life was so busy with the preparation of celebration, that I missed the joy that awaited each of us this time of year.

Have you ever seen someone walk into a party that looked scared to death, unsure of themselves, and then watched them slink off to an obscure corner? Their body language screaming, “I wish I was anywhere but here!” Entering a room full of people that you do not know can be intimidating. I get that. Yet, your entrance is important in displaying overall confidence and portraying a strong image.

Giving a party, of any type, requires a great deal of work. If you have been fortunate enough to be included in a festive soiree, it is nice to arrive with a gift for the hostess. The typical present will cost between $15-$30, but there are less expensive things you can find at the local discount store.

  • Cecelia Zook

Roasted Turkey with Field Herbs Taste Test

Happy Foodie Friday! These recipes come courtesy of Penny and Eleazar Martinez.

Each of our Taste Test Reviews comes with the original recipe and the tester's notes/changes listed with the ingredient list in blue. We hope you enjoy!

Such a pretty bird! The Roasted Turkey with Field Herbs was a lovely dish on our family table. It was moist and flavorful, and the aromatic, fresh herbs seeped through the entire turkey. After about an hour and a half of cooking, I added a cup of chicken broth to the pan, tented the turkey with some foil and basted it every now and then. This wasn’t in the recipe, but I think it helped keep the breast especially tender.  The best thing about the recipe is that it was so easy! I had plenty of time to pull together some great side dishes for our gorgeous and tasty dinner. Bring on Thanksgiving, I am ready!

Roasted Turkey with Field Herbs
Download PDF • 2.34MB

Makes 8 to 10 servings

Time: 3.5-4 hours


*1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter

*1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest

*12 sprigs fresh thyme

*6 sprigs fresh sage

*1 cup rough chopped fresh parsley

*1 fresh turkey (10 to 12 pounds) (Make sure to buy your turkey early and give it time to defrost!)

*1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon salt

*1/4 cup black pepper

*1 small yellow onion, cut in quarters

*7 cloves of garlic, crushed

*3 long carrots, cut in half lengthwise


*Preheat oven at 400F.

*Melt the butter on low heat, then turn off the heat and add the lemon zest to the melted butter.

*Remove the giblets out of turkey cavity and discard.

*Arrange the carrot halves across roasting pan.

*Take turkey and sprinkle the salt and black pepper in turkey cavity and rub well to evenly distribute the seasoning.

*Insert all the herbs, onion quarters, and garlic cloves inside the turkey cavity.

*Tie the legs together as tight as possible with kitchen string to securely close the cavity.

*Tuck the wing’s tips under the turkey body, and place turkey on roasting pan making sure it sits nicely on top of the carrots.

*Brush the melted lemon-infused butter all over the turkey and sprinkle a tablespoon of salt all around top of the turkey.

*Place in the oven and roast the turkey for 30 minutes at 400F, then lower oven temperature to 325F and roast for 3 more hours or until internal temperature of thighs read 170F. (After about an hour and a half of cooking, I added a cup of chicken broth to the pan, tented the turkey with some foil and basted it every now and then.)

*Remove the turkey from the oven, place on kitchen countertop, cover with aluminum foil and let rest for 30 minutes.

*Slice the turkey, serve, and enjoy.

Recipe and Taste Tester - Cecelia Zook

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